“Where do people start screaming?” asks Marin Kullik, of the Dutch creative collective Steinbeisser, in a video by The New Yorker that chronicled a California edition of their Experimental Gastronomy dinners. These dinners bring together chefs and artists to serve dishes that invite experimentation among participants and, perhaps, confusion among guests—thus the potential for screams, though what’s more likely is delight when presented with items like a beak pliers spoon or a soil plate.
On May 18 and 19, Steinbeisser will bring their whimsical and provocative series to Bushwick, Brooklyn’s 99 Scott event space, in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, for its first New York installation. Tickets to the entirely vegan nine-course meal—cooked by chefs Dominique Crenn of San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn, New York–based Elise Kornack, Emma Bengtsson of Aquavit, and Niki Nakayama of Los Angeles’s n/naka, and featuring custom cutlery and tableware by 15 artists—cost a rather extravagant $875. An alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage pairing is included, and a portion of the proceeds will support the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Programs.
“All four chefs are among the very best in the U.S.,” Kullik says, “and we all share a strong urge to experiment with ecological and regenerative approaches to fine dining, while exploring new ideas of how chefs and artists/craftsmen can work more closely together in making the dining experience much more mindful and fun.”
In addition to the chefs, bread baker Blair Marvin of Elmore Mountain Bread, a wood-fired micro bakery and stone-ground flour mill located in Elmore, Vermont, will be baking sourdough breads made entirely from organic and regionally sourced wheat and specialty grains. Master sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier will be in charge of the pairings.
To Steinbeisser, keeping the project sustainable and locally focused is key, and that’s why they’ve chosen to make every one of their dinners vegan. As David Kinch of Los Gatos, California’s Manresa notes in the video, “If vegan isn’t much of a restriction, then certainly the locavore and the biodynamics is on top of it, so that makes it a big challenge, and also an exciting one.”
“For our Experimental Gastronomy projects, we chose to always serve a plant-based (vegan) tasting menu. Because with the abundance of luscious dishes made from meat, fish, eggs, dairy and so on, there is a need for new, creative and delicious dishes made from plants only,” says Kullik about this particular decision. “So we also choose to get 100 percent of all our ingredients, both food and drinks, from biodynamic or organic farmers sourced directly in the surroundings where the dinner takes place. The chefs, the artists and the farmers are all equally essential to the project.”
Tickets for the dinner are available now. Whether there will be screaming, though—we’ll have to wait until to May to find out.
Photographs courtesy of Dutch creative collective Steinbeisser.